By comparison, on average over a comparable period, the state approved $12 billion worth of firearms exports, including some weapons considered too lethal and sensitive to transfer to Commerce, said Senator Elizabeth Warren during a Senate banking hearing earlier this month with Estevez. .
“So if you do the math, that’s an increase of about 30%. Now that’s a huge boon to the gun industry,” the Massachusetts Democrat said. “The $15.7 billion in Commerce-approved exports is nearly as large as the current size of the entire US firearms manufacturing industry of $19 billion.”
During the period covered by the Commerce 2021 report, Canada was by far the largest destination for American firearms, purchasing 23.8% of commercial weapons sold abroad worth nearly $230 million. dollars. Australia came second with 12.6% of total sales, purchasing $121 million worth of firearms.
But other countries with much higher rates of gun violence, as well as problematic human rights and rule of law records, were also top destinations for American firearms. They included Thailand, which came third with 11.1% of total sales, Mexico (sixth place with 3.2% of sales), Brazil (seventh with 2.4% of sales) and the Philippines (eighth place with 2.3% of sales).
Democratic lawmakers and arms control advocates have criticized Commerce for not being sufficiently transparent about the global customer base for American firearms. Its public report, for example, does not offer a breakdown by sector of who buys the weapons, such as foreign military, foreign law enforcement groups or private companies selling to the public.